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Inspiring Kids to Play with Dirt

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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — A local mom is starting an urban gardening and downtown beautification effort in Central Point by teaching kids to play with dirt.

Taneea Browning is the founder of the “Dirt Park,” an after school program for now serving on the Noah’s Ark School. Nineteen kids have signed up, turning the small back alley from a dingy lot to a budding garden. Browning said the idea is to teach kids how to care for plants and pollinators who use those plants, and to recognize the value of a garden to their community.

“There’s a lot of information,” said Browning. “I want the children to feel empowered to make the place they live in beautiful, and just give them that knowledge.”

Browning said her goal is to expand the program over the next few years to include more schools. She said she also wants to find a way to make the edibles available to members of the community.